March 19, 2015
On Sunday afternoon, March 15 th, Pastor Kevin Harney and his wife Sherry visited Church of the Resurrection and shared with us their heart for evangelism. Here are some of the key points of Pastor Kevin's talk:
Organic Outreach We know that outreach is important, but it can be hard to actually reach out to non-believers. Some churches have a map with push-pins in the places where they support missionaries in prayer and finances. That's wonderful, but it allows us to feel that we are doing something without personally reaching out to non-believers. Other churches might have an Evangelism Committee alongside the other ministry committees (women's ministry, youth group, worship team, ushers, etc.). We distance ourselves because our personalities or talents don't measure up to what we see in the members of the committee, and evangelism is seen as "their thing". Organic Outreach is a way to integrate evangelism into the very "operating system" of the church. The leaders of every ministry in the church is involved in an Outreach Influence Team, and is committed to making evangelism a priority in their own lives, while encouraging the people under them to do the same.
Key Rules Before we start, we have to make sure we are a church to which God wants to send people. If we pray and prepare well, the Lord will bring forth fruit. First, we need to learn to love better. Individually, we should make loving and seeking God a priority. We need to love the Church, and speak well of her and her leaders, or else people won't want to come when we invite them. We also need to love the Lost. Try to picture someone you love that doesn't know Jesus; if you can't think of anyone like that, pray for an opportunity to meet someone and build a relationship with him or her. The next rule is called the One Degree Rule. Think of your evangelism temperature on a scale of 1-10, one being complete indifference and ten being a heart burning for the Lost and seeking opportunities to share the love of Christ. Now, think of what it would take to raise your temperature by one degree. This can be used both as a self-evaluation tool, and as a group inspiration opportunity. The Two Degree Rule is something that applies to the church and individual ministries. Think of a compass, in which the needle indicates the direction that we focus our money, time and energy. Most of the time our compass points due north - at us, churchgoers. But what would it take to vector our compass by two degrees, to make our events and ministries more visitor-friendly?
Next Steps Church of the Resurrection is committed to increasing our evangelism temperature and vectoring our ministries. In order to do that, the Outreach Influence Team, lead by Pastor Matt Woodley, will be meeting regularly to keep each other accountable and facilitate the vision trickling down to ministry leaders, Team members, Resurrection attendees, and the community. We will also be holding training events for everyone on how to share the Gospel. It will take a lot of time an effort for outreach to truly become organic, but please pray that the Lord would use us even as we learn together.
More Resources Kevin Harney has written several books (including "Organic Outreach for Ordinary People", "…for Churches", and "…for Families"), and training materials that are available for free on his website: http://www.kevingharney.com. If you have any questions about what this means for you, how you can get more involved, or why we care so much, please feel free to contact Pastor Matt Woodley at firstname.lastname@example.org.